On Aug. 18, Tricia Belstra boarded a Southwest Airlines flight upset and feeling physically sick to her stomach. She was, tragically, on her way to carry out an unimaginable task — laying her son to rest.
“I sat in my seat between two strangers holding a barf bag down low between my legs,” she said in a Facebook post.
“Then this young man came by; I wish I would have gotten his name. He was getting drink requests. I asked for a Diet Coke and another glass of water. He leaned in and asked if I was okay. I told him I was flying back to bury my son. He said he was so sorry and brought me a can of water, a glass of ice and my Diet Coke.”
But the young flight attendant’s kindness didn't stop there...
When the plane reached its destination, the unidentified crew member handed her a note written crudely on a napkin.
“As I am leaving the plane, the young man who waited on me was standing on the landing and as I walked off the plane, he stopped me and handed me a napkin and said he was sorry for my loss and this wasn’t much,” she wrote. “I said thank you and walked out.”
The attendant’s note detailed the heartbreaking story of losing his older brother and even recalled the grief his own mother experienced.
“In 2004, my family lost my older brother. As traumatic as it still is for me, I can’t even pretend to truly know the pain you feel as a mother,” the note began. “I did, however, watch my mother’s grieving process (a process that will never end).”
The letter went on to share some unexpected, though heartwarming advice.
“My mom struggled desperately chasing a faraway goal of somehow lessening the pain. As she has realized now, the pain hardly lessens. Don't expend your energy trying to chase this. Instead, go all out finding opportunities to experience joy. Visit family, get closer to those you’ve lost touch with, travel.”
It concluded: “I won’t stop thinking about you anytime soon or how you’re doing or what you’re up to. You’ll come out of this a stronger person and I’ll be rooting for you the whole time.”
Ms. Belstra decided post her story on the Facebook community Love What Matters in the hopes of tracking down the kindhearted crew member, revealing the note had a profound effect on her on her grief.
“When I got to where I was out of the walkway, I looked at the napkin he gave me and cried,” she said, adding: “Thank you so much for your kind words from a person that took the time to write this not even knowing me.”
At the time of writing, the heartbreaking post has been shared more than 5,000 times and "liked" more than 50,000 times.
This post was written by Candice Mehta-Culjak. For more, check out our sister site, Now to Love.